the papaya: totally new for our family fruit

the papaya new for us fruit coverWe are always looking for new and exciting things to try over here, and this week, though it may seem boring, normal, average and everyday to your family, we tried a totally new-for-us fruit.

The papaya.

That’s right. The papaya is a totally new for our family fruit.

That oblong, greenish-yellowish, heavy, strange-looking fruit.

Maddy spotted it on a recent shopping trip, and said, Mommy! We have to get this. We have to try a papaya. It looks so. . . weird.

How could I argue her logic?

And so our family began 2013 by trying this tropical wonder, and it resulted in a wee bit of research, some reading, watching, trying, and reflecting.

Some serious, on-the-fly learning in our every day.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • The Papaya–Totally New-For-Our-Family Fruit: It was surprising to Maddy and me just how many people commented on the papaya in our cart:

What is that thing?

What are you going to do with that?

Wow! Looks like you two will be busy today!

papaya new for us fruit

The papaya: in all of its long, greenish, yellowish, squishiness.

Granted, Maddy stuck it in the spot where flowers are supposed to sit, so it did look a little strange–even to us. But the conversation-starter with strangers in the grocery store clued us into the fact that we did have a strange and unusual fruit on our hands!

It made the pricetag (gulp! A tropical fruit in the winter in Marland?) a little easier to take.

papaya new for us fruit

When we got home, she buzzed to the computer. We have to research how to cut the papaya! We can’t totally wreck it like we did with our mango!

So after we unloaded the groceries, ate lunch, and did a few other things, we did our research. It was actually very funny to have this crazy, new fruit on our countertop for a few hours.

It made the kids curious: What do you think it tastes like? Wonder if it’s sweet? Maybe crunchy like an apple? I bet it’s so juicy. . .

We hopped on google and talked about what key words we could use for our search.

I think let’s just do ‘how to cut a papaya’, said Maddy.

And that’s what we did.

papaya new for us fruit- seeds

Papayas have some serious seed action going on. . .

papaya new for us fruit  seeds

. . . and gosh they are strong-tasting! So peppery!

We landed on Jeannette’s Healthy Living How to Cut a Papaya into Chunks, and we also learned a little bit about papayas along the way:

  • Who knew the papaya was considered a power food?
  • That it was packed with vitamin C and A and E?
  • That it was high in folate, potassium, fiber and vitamin K?
  • That it contains several unique protein-digesting enzymes?

So exciting!  Now all it had to do was taste great, and we’d have a brand-new fruity bff!

We followed her lead by cutting the papaya half and scooping out the seeds.  Maddy, Owen, and Cora each held seeds, squished and squeezed the seeds, and tried the peppery seeds. (Good thing we had drinks on hand! They are really peppery!)

papaya new for us fruit slices

We cut the papaya in quarters. . .

papaya new for us fruit skin

. . . and then sliced off the skin.

papaya new for us fruit chunks

Then we cut into big chunks and dug in.

I cut the long slices into chunks, and the kids–and I!–couldn’t wait to try it.

And. . .

papaya new for us fruit chunks

Man, what a disappointment.

Not at all sweet. Not at all juicy and yum like we all hoped and imagined.

It. . . tastes like nothing, Maddy said. Or kind of like a– tomato?

Cora said, It’s squishy and tastes like water.  And then she spit it into the sink.

I want to like it, said Owen. But it is so strange in my mouth. Yeah, Maddy–like something with a taste of nothing.

And I whole-heartedly agreed. Our papaya had a grainy texture–kind of like a ripe tomato–but didn’t have the fresh, sweet, tropical taste we had hoped for.

Let’s try it with a little lime on top! I tried. Like on the website?

But the kids wouldn’t buy it. I think one kid gave it a go but spit the papaya chunk with lime into the sink.

It’s beautiful when cut–I love the color–but man. Not a winner.

papaya shakes -

The winner? Papaya in our breakfast smoothie.  With vanilla yogurt and other good stuff thrown in.

However, in smoothies the next day at breakfast, the papaya stole the show.  Though it was a really hard sell.

With a little vanilla yogurt, a banana, a splash of orange juice, and about 1 1/2 cups of our papaya chunks, the kids loved it. We all agreed that the papaya really seemed to lighten the smoothie–gave it a fresh taste and a smooth texture.

Want to know how you can get your kids to be excited to try new foods? Check out How to Get Your Kids to Try New Foods.  Happy eating!

And that’s it. new for us friday

Just some fun, sneaky learning to kick off the new year while trying a little something new for our family.

We are always, always, always looking for new and exciting things to try! In fact, our goal is weekly to try one new thing–whether it’s food, crafts, activities, events, toys, thinking, programming, you name it.

It’s our New For Us Friday tag, and if ever you have an idea for us, please give us a shout.

Or check out our pinterest board: neat-0, fun, NEW things for us to try board. Packed with our ideas for the year!




  1. cathy says

    I totally agree with your family about papayas. They look so good! Such a disappointment. I occasionally get papayas in my coop basket and usually give them away. I’ll give it a try in a smoothie next time.

    • amy says

      Cathy! So we’re not alone!! Actually Jeanette emailed me and suggested we look for a smaller, less green one. . . so maybe we’ll give it another chance next time? Thanks for writing, my friend!

  2. says

    Oh my gosh, really?? A ripe and juicy and sweet papaya is a Melt-in-your-mouth bite of heaven!! The one you had needed ripening – It’s AWFULLY green!! You want it to be a little soft, like a ripe avacado, not too squishy; and definitely not green! more yellow mottled yellow tinge. It should smell, a little spicy fruity mix, its closer to ripe if you can smell the tropics 😉 If you get another one (and I would try it – they really are not at all like you described when they are ripe) put it in a bag with some bananas to ripen up, this can take a couple days up to a week depending how not-ripe you get one. I did love your experience description, and it’s awesome your kids are into trying new stuff :)

    • amy says

      Angela! I had NO idea–so thank you! Many have said our green papaya looked not quite ripe, so we will definitely plan on a papaya 2.0 come summer. Good trick about the ripening process–and thank you thank you thank you a million for reading and for taking the time to write! Here’s to second tries!!

  3. says

    Oh, no, that’s not what a papaya should taste like! I think you got a bad one, or maybe it’s just because it’s-winter-in-Maryland. We ate papaya all the time in California and it was wonderful. I’ve had fabulous ones in Hawaii. You might want to buy the jarred Dole kind just so your kids can taste another version, and then wait till the summer and try again.

    • amy says

      Gina! You have sold me!! (Well, you and every other papaya lover who has written about our experience!) I hadn’t at all thought to try canned–and I will–for sure! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  4. says

    How cute your family and you look at papaya at a totally different perspective! Over here, where I am, we eat papaya very often. It’s exceptionally good for those suffering from constipation. Carefully harvested papaya is suppose to taste sweet and very juicy. Do give it a try again when you are in Asian countries. 😉

    Btw, I’m one of those who subscribed to your blog.

    • amy says

      Zah–woah. Thanks for the insider’s tip on the papaya’s help with digestive issues. Always could use the tips! When I am in an Asian country–or perhaps even if I just find a papaya that looks a little different than our big green one–I will DEFINITELY try another! Thank you thank you for subscribing and reading!

  5. HawaiianLibrarian says

    From the islands full of papayas where we eat a wedge for breakfast everyday, try again. Papayas are really sweet and delicious…when fully ripe. Mostly orange on the outside, kind of soft to the touch, and very orange or orangey pink on the inside, depending on the variety. Of course, lose the seeds or try planting them. A squish of lime or lemon is nice; a scoop of cottage cheese makes a cool lunch; and a scoop of vanilla ice crean is heaven on earth. Peeled green papayas make nice crunchy Thai salads, or Filipino squash soups. Smoothies are a great way to use overripe fruit. Please do give papayas another chance…maybe when they go on sale.

    • amy says

      THANK YOU Hawaiian Librarian! I will DEF try again–who knew people felt so strongly about papayas?! I am TOTALLY and completely up for trying them again, especially after your tips! A million thank you’s!!!

  6. says

    you kidding??I grew up eating peruvian papaya from the peruvian jungle, this papaya is very sweet and juicy!love it, with some drops of lemon on top…mmmm so good!
    I love papaya next time you need to pick a soft one..if it is too soft don’t buy it could be ripped but a little bit soft just like the avocados will be great. and be sure it comes from Peru : )

    • amy says

      Patty! You better believe that after all this papaya-love, I’ll give it a second-go. Knowing that they should be soft like avocados is a good thing to keep in mind. Thanks!! And boy–lucky you to grow up eating peruvian papaya from the jungle! Sure beats my papaya from Giant Grocery!

  7. says

    I have never tried papaya – and unfortunately will not give it to my little ones as they have some strange allergies and I am kinda scared to try new things..

    • amy says

      Alexandra–good point–if your family is food-sensitive, then trying new foods may be a bit anxiety-producing. I’d stick with the new activities, programming, games, etc. :)

  8. Swati says

    We in India have a lot of papaya. There are some varieties that are not sweet, but most are. You actually have to wait for it to ripen. The raw ones have no taste. We cook the raw ones and eat them as a vegetable. The ripe ones are super sweet and juicy :)

  9. Pat Duffy says

    I grew up I a Mexican family. Papaya is in my blood. My mother made it for breakfast, as a salad: diced papaya, fresh bananas sliced, about 2 tablespoons of sugar and juice of fresh lime. Toss and enjoy:)

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